Hoowah, what a day yesterday was for the GBC (Ground-Based Crew)!
We should tell you a little backstory you may not all know. Before SailingforALS existed, a few friends named Trent, Matt, Rob and Gary (me) went on this long 10,000mi journey AROUND the country in my dad’s car that the leasing company would not take back after he passed away from ALS. It was born out of anger: how could these heartless people not take back a car under the clause that my father had passed away? It had such low mileage that I spitefully wanted to drive every last allotted mile and almost legally run into the ground. But the anger didn’t last and an idea surfaced: sure, drive it as many miles as possible, but do it for charity…Our charity was the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter and our campaign was called the PanAmerica (www.PanAmerica.com). We blasted around the country and raised money and awareness for ALS. We like to think it made an impact on some people, but mostly it had a huge impact on us. We met some of the most amazing people in the ALS community. Why the long story? Well, 5 days into our drive, we landed in New Orleans, land of beignets, juleps, jazz, and many things that make life great. But we left New Orleans knowing that it’s the land of real-life Saints: the people at Team Gleason (www.TeamGleason.org). Our contact was Lauren. She walked us around New Orleans and the Superdome and apologized about 79 times for not being able to coordinate a meet between Steve Gleason himself and us. We were bummed, but it was ok: we had never been so warmly welcomed by complete strangers in our lives. Lauren didn’t even know who Gary was or what he looked like (a goofball; actually, he still does), but when the four of us went to meet her she gave me a long heartfelt hug, almost like she knew it was me of the group who was hurting the most from what I had seen my father endure. We got t-shirts and stickers, and shout-outs on facebook/twitter/instagram…our followers doubled after we visited New Orleans. Needless to say, NOLA holds a very very special place in our hearts. When the PanAmerica was all over, my Dad’s good friends Charly and Fred came up with the idea of doing a PanAmerica over water, and SailingforALS for the Pacific Cup 2014 was born.
Long story short, we stayed friends with Lauren at Team Gleason. Gleason’s premiere in LA was last night and Team Gleason invited us. It was damn honor, let us tell you. Gleason is a stunning film of raw human emotions; some might argue it’s not even about ALS. We left the movie emotionally drained but also invigorated for life at the same time. Steve and his wife Michel are living breathing heroes. See the film. You will laugh at times, you WILL cry, but you will leave inspired.
Anywaaaaaaay, right as we were stepping into the premiere, we got an email from Charly that we’ve transcribed below. Ok fine, it’s about 14hrs late, but hey…the GPS tracker has a 6hr delay and we ain’t machines, ok?!”
OK, we’re doing a little better. Our days of puking competition are behind us. The winds have shifted a bit as we’ve traveled further south. We’ve launched our Gennaker and stay sail and basically turbocharged Thirsty. A little Muse concert in the background and we were pushing 11kts this afternoon. Fred even made some Vmax’s at 13kts in full Volvo Ocean Race mode with the water zipping up and over the deck. Sure it’s not any more comfortable to sail this way, but now we’re really hauling ass! We even passed the Sydney 36 with their full crew! They didn’t seem happy about that, so they hurriedly hoisted their spinnaker up and just as quickly had to take it back down after heeling over too far and eating seawater. Hehe
Most importantly, we finally ate a meal: roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and an orange for dessert (for the scurvy). We aren’t quite in Lynch-Bages territory yet health-wise, but we’re doing much better. As of this email, it seems like we are still No.1 in our division and 4th overall, including those that left today. We covered 200NM in 24 hours and our average so far is 40% faster than the past Pac Cups where we were fishing and swimming faster than the boat. At this pace, we expect to be in Hawaii in the 10-11 day time frame we anticipated. And weather reports are forecasting we might have to manage the edge of a small tropical storm in our last days out from Hawaii.
Anyway, Thirsty is balls-to-the-wall!
Chat with you guys soon! -Charly
We’ve asked Charly to pretty please send us at least one picture, so we hope to see the next post with a picture of our sexy sailors.
On a more somber tone, it’s no secret the French ties this Team has to France. So it is with a heavy heart that say that our hearts and minds are with the beautiful city of Nice and all of France.